Kansas banks will merge

Citizens Bank of Kansas, Kingsman, has signed a deal to acquire Verus Bank, Derby, Kan., creating an approximately $380 million institution.

The $140 million Verus Bank has three branches in Derby, Augusta and El Dorado, Kan. The bank is owned by the Chase Family, which has been a fixture in Kansas banking since the early 1970s. Verus employees will be offered jobs with Citizens, and branches will operate as Verus Bank, a branch of Citizens Bank of Kansas for at least a few years after the merger, expected to close in early 2019.

Verus President Kyle Russell will serve as president following the merger. Current Citizens President Dennis Knackstedt had previously announced his intention to retire this year, although he might remain involved with the bank as a consultant, Citizens chair Jane Deterding told the Wichita Eagle.

“We have been in acquisition mode for five years,” Mark Keeny, CEO of Citizens Bank of Kansas, told The Hutchinson News. “It took the right bank with the right people and the right culture to make this merger a reality.”

The $238 million Citizens can trace its family banking roots back to 1922 in Cowley County. Today, the fourth generation of the Deterding family of Kansas bankers is involved in running the bank. It has two branches in Wichita and one each in Kingman, Medicine Lodge, Pretty Prairie and Winfield.

Citizens has set a goal of reaching $500 million in assets for optimal efficiency, meaning it might still be on the hunt for additional deals to reach that point.